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Minimum wage increases but some local businesses say they’re struggling to find employees

Hilliard said places like the Mimslyn Inn are looking to hire more seasonal workers with the...
Hilliard said places like the Mimslyn Inn are looking to hire more seasonal workers with the summer season and events.(WHSV)
Published: May. 3, 2021 at 7:45 PM EDT
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LURAY, Va. (WHSV) - Over the weekend and across Virginia, minimum wage increased from $7.25 an hour to $9.50 due to a law signed last year.

But for some local business owners in Luray like Lisa Gander, with Shenandoah River Outfitters, she said the higher wage is nothing new.

“We have super dedicated employees that come back here year after year and we just felt like it was time long ago to pay higher,” Gander said “Our business was taking off and we were making more money so we decided to pass it along.”

While Gander said a higher wage has been normal, what she finds out of the ordinary is the difficulty to hire. Gander said out of the 50 years her family’s business has been in operation it has not been as difficult to hire extra help then this upcoming summer.

Gander said being 30 minutes away from James Madison University and next to Shenandoah National Park, their workplace is casted out as the ideal summer job but they have had little bites from applicants.

“We’ve got a couple of kids who go to JMU and they’ve put our open positions out on the Facebook of JMU,” Gander said. “Driving around Harrisonburg, I noticed that every shop window has a help wanted sign on it. We just can’t find anybody to come work for us.”

Gina Hilliard, President of the Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce, said this is something she’s been hearing from other local businesses in the county and around the Valley.

“The Shenandoah National Park is looking for people to go up there and clean rooms or work in the kitchen,” Hilliard said. “The Mimslyn Inn is looking for help as well so there are several scenarios that are looking for workers.”

Hilliard said while it is difficult to target why people are not applying, the help is needed at places that especially thrive on summer tourism.

“We are busy and as far as tourism its only getting busier,” Hilliard said. “The unfortunate thing is we need to have the workers to fulfill those duties so our restaurants can maybe extend their hours, shops can stay open later.”

Gander said she is hopeful more people will apply before the start of summer and if anyone would like to apply call the outfitters at (540) 743-4159 .

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